Promotional Products Packaging

It’s the thought that counts.

We hear this often when it comes to gift giving. The same is true for promotional products. To really make giveaways and gifts have an impact you must show you’ve thought about the people receiving them. This doesn’t mean more expensive items. Often, the little things you do when you give a way the promotional gift can be as important as the gift itself.

We’ve written about selecting a promotional product previously. Ultimately, the value of the item for the recipient is about perception. The perceived value of the product itself, the context in which they receive it, and the way in which you present it all combine to make a lasting impression, how they will feel about your organization. One of the overlooked aspects of promotional gift giving is the packaging.

Promotional products packaging, by default can come in any number of standard package formats. Unfortunately, these formats say nothing special about you, the product nor the importance you place on the recipient. With a little imagination, you can create a presentation that will make a lasting impression on people.Promo package shped box

Looking nicer is one benefit, but packaging can also make the receiving of the gift more exciting. When you hand someone a promotional gift in standard packaging, or without a package at all, it is somewhat anti-climatic; they see the item before they touch it. But, the opening of a package comes with anticipation and a bit of excitement, enhancing the experience. It becomes imprinted in their minds.

There are mPromotional product velvet bagany options for promotional products packaging. Some are standard shapes like cylinder boxes, curved flip boxes, tin display cases, or well made pen boxes. Additionally, most packaging options also provide an opportunity to customize the printing, so the package carries your message as well. Getting creative, you should connect the messaging on the promotional packing with Promo Package Boxthe item inside, rather than simply recreating the same image / message.

Promotional Product marketing is about the whole presentation of the gift. As you consider how you want the recipient to feel and react, look at the role packaging can play to make an impact.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Abt’s Timely Promotional Give A Way

Abt’s Promotional Give Away: a simple tape measure

If you are not familiar with Abt, it is an electronics store north of Chicago. They hit the mark with the promotional give away. It was:

1) Ideal for the context
2) Useful for the long term
3) Decent quality
4) A nice, unexpected surprise

We’ve purchased individual items from Abt in the past. But, recently we purchased multiple products as we redid our kitchen. Along with the appliances, Abt sent this simple but incredibly timely item:

Abt Promotional give away  tape measure

Abt Promotional tape measure

The trigger was the multiple appliances; it let Abt know our context with reasonable certainty.

It is great for a situation (context) like ours. Constantly measuring, we are frequently looking for a tape measure. It is getting a lot of use right now.

It is also practical for the long run. With the quality of the item, we’ll keep it, and use it.

There are a lot of appliance retailers. This simple gift was minimal relative to the expense of the appliances, but its value to us is quite high. With the Abt logo on it, we’ll be reminded of Abt long after we are done with the kitchen re-do.

The Take A Way from this Promotional Give A Way

Getting new customers is expensive. Keeping existing customers is much more efficient. What Abt did was leverage their knowledge of the customer to provide extra value for minimal expense.

Understanding your customer will allow you to identify opportunity for well targeted promotional give a ways. Either through data or common sense, you know why people purchase your product. Using this provides insight into which promo product are best suited for their context.

Posted in General, promotional marketing, Promotional Product Stories, Promotional Products | Leave a comment

iPromo Promotional Power Banks Pass the Test

Ensuring quality is a tough job. But, it helps to start with a strong product. iPromo has a quality control process that rates the performance of our factories. We also work to ensure the products are as we advertise. That is why we had our promotional power banks tested alongside a couple of those from competitors.

Checking the Capacity of the Promotional Power Banks

The inspectors received two batteries from factories that produce mobile chargers for other companies, and a random four batteries from our factory. A couple of things to note:

Promotional Power Banks Testing

Batteries in testing line

1) All batteries were marked as 2600 mAh.

2) They were all measured on the same machine.

mAh is a measure of how much power the battery can hold, its capacity. A 2600 mAh battery holds enough power to recharge an iPhone with some power left over.

Competing factory Promotional Power Banks BatteriesWhat we found was that the two batteries from the other factory, which were marked 2600 mAh, had an actual capacity of about 1800 mAh.  The capacity of these batteries was about ⅓ short of the listed power.

The iPromo batteries came in at 2600 (+-1%). This is simply what it should be. Ensuring that our products are manufactured to specs is the first step in providing our clients with the quality and service they deserve.

There is virtually no way for end users to know the battery capacity. But, they do know that it does (or does not) charge their iPhone. When our client’s logo is on the promotional power banks, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure the user experience is worthy of the brand that gave it to them.

Posted in Power Banks, Promotional Products | Tagged | Leave a comment

Promotional Products Work Week 2014

Like most industries, the promotional products industry strives to demonstrate the value we bring to the marketing efforts for our clients. To do this at iPromo, we are taking a somewhat different path. While we can easily carry “everything”, our intent is to seek those products that serve a true purpose in the marketing arsenal of our clients. As we move forward and introduce new promotional products, there are a few principles by which we will stand.

First, No Junk. This sounds trite, but if you are carrying “everything,” then junk is included in that warehouse. We are the partner that has quality products for our customers. While it may be easy to sell a cheap pen, we believe the integrity of the brand whose logo is on it deserves better. So, we will carry quality products at the lowest price.

No Junk promotional products

iPromo No Junk

Junk can also be contextual. An item that serves one purpose very well, may be poorly suited for another purpose. It is important that the company you work with in the promotional products industry starts with your purpose before recommending promotional products. Otherwise, you may end up with high quality junk.

Second, Responsiveness. This is really a point of pride for our team; you can see it in our TrustPilot reviews. We know that our clients have a lot going on, and they count on iPromo to make their decision and purchase as smooth as possible. Weather it is the online chat, email or on the phone, our team strives to provide our clients with what they need, when they need it.

Third, enthusiasm. We have fun with our products. Lets face it, we get to play with some pretty neat things, and get excited when the promotional products we love to play with also serve an important business need for our clients. Some things are very practical, others more fanciful, but all serve to help our clients grow and improve the relationships with their customers and prospects.

Promotional Products Work Week is a good initiative in the industry. At iPromo, we know that it is not just the product, but the people. Responsive. Enthusiastic. Knowledgeable. To make promo marketing work, you first need to star with good people.

Posted in General, promotional marketing, Promotional Products | Tagged | Leave a comment

SMB Branding: For Some Prospects, Receiving a Promotional Item is the Brand Experience

SMB Branding. Experience vs Perception

For SMB Branding, Brand is not about a person’s perception of your company. Brand is about a person’s experience with your company.

I don’t own a Ferrari, never have. But, I have a definite perception of that company and the car. The same can be said for any number of large companies. Their marketing message or product prevalence is broad and deep enough that most non-buyers, non-interactors have a solid perception of the brand. The perception precedes the experience. The challenge for these brands is ensuring that the experience matches the expectations.

For SMB branding, this is not the case, particularly for those categories where the purchases are made infrequently.

As a starting point for branding I like the following:

“… Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.” — Tronvig Group on Branding

Experience is the SMB Branding

For SMBs, establishing the brand needs to focus on the experience. With word-of-mouth (WOM) and its hyper-extension, social media, prospective customers are more likely to be made aware by current customers than by advertising. Most SMBs have to rely on being either top of mind when a prospect it ready (something that is often out of reach from an advertising perspective), or referred by someone the prospect knows. Since WOM is based on a persons experience, it is essential that SMBs’ services and products are delivered in a way that sets them apart, creates the SMB brand.

When customers complete their transaction, beyond just getting the product or service, how do they feel? How would they describe the experience to others? Not just that the product was good… good products can be had any number of ways. But, what is the experience of getting the product that would make them come back, and recommend the company to others?

Experience Beyond the Purchase

For most SMBs, the experience is limited to those who actually buy the product or service. But, it doesn’t have to be limited by the purchase. Reaching out to the community, participating with local groups and being involved is a key aspect of extending the brand experience beyond the the limitation of those that buy.

For promotional products, this same perspective needs to apply. It reaches beyond the transaction to establish the SMB brand. But, it is not just about the product you are giving away. It is about the context and manner of giving it away. How you select and present promotional products is important. It is the experience upon which many will base their assessment of your brand. This is a key point for SMBs. Its not just tossing out stress balls at a local fair, or handing out pens at a conference. What you give and how you present these items may be the only impression a prospect has of your company before the purchase.

So, when it comes time to buy, and they see that promotional item on their desk, counter or dresser, how will they feel about your brand?

Posted in Branding, marketing, promotional marketing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Culture of Extraordinary Responsiveness

iPromo BBB Award

When our company started 15 years ago, our founder (Leo) was still in school. It really was like one of those stories you read about, but since Leo doesn’t dwell on it, it is not often told. However, one aspect of his early efforts was his desire to respond quickly to customers.

At the time, cell phones weren’t the norm and the technology for identifying callers and managing calls was not what we take for granted today. Pagers were more likely. So, when Leo went to class, he had a pager. He set it up so that calls to the company routed to his computer and then a program triggered a modem (remember modems?) to call his pager with a message. He then knew he needed to find a phone and help a customer. This seed of customer service focus has grown to form the roots of our company; all things at iPromo stem from this early desire.

What makes companies really good is not the complete absence of issues, but rather how they respond to the inevitable issues that arise. What may also be telling is when the response to fixing issues comes so naturally to those involved that they don’t see this as the exception, but rather just “the way we are.”

When something doesn’t go as we (or the customer) expect, we respond. We want to solve the issues to make our customers happy. So, when we received the BBB Complaint Free Award for 2013 we were excited. In part, because we didn’t expect it. Not because we didn’t work hard to help our customers, but because we didn’t think that “the way we are” was something for which we’d be recognized.

BBB 2013 Complaint Free Award

BBB 2013 Complaint Free Award

As we look back at 2013, and ahead to the rest of 2014, the BBB Complaint Free Award reminds us to take a step back and recognize our teammates for their efforts on behalf of our customers. And, to thank our customers for their business and working with us when, on occasion, things just didn’t go as planned.

Posted in Client Stories, General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ratings and Reviews are key to any business

Ratings and Reviews

As a company that is in the B2B space, we try to help our clients improve their business results. While our focus is on promotional product marketing, I like to also share other helpful bits that may have nothing to do with our core business. Today, an old colleague of mine published an article in ClickZ about ratings and reviews… it is well worth the time to read it for any business.

In my agency days, we worked with a lot of clients that did not pay enough attention to the ratings, neither encouraging ratings nor responding to them. Gregg Stewart explains some of the key components of rating and review management.

I can tell you from experience, ratings matter… a lot. We’ve run user tests, and on the top of the list of influences, following word of mouth, are ratings. You can see it in Google search results. Google pulls the ratings from sources around the web as a way to add value to the users deciding on where to make a purchase. This gives some indication on how important this is.

While Gregg’s agency is focused on local businesses, the principles apply to any business, consumer or B2B, brick and mortar or internet based. The same need for validation and assurance applies in any purchase situation.

We like to use TrustPilot to provide our customers with a verifiable way to provide feedback. The advantage of TrustPilot is that all purchasers are independently validated as real buyers by TrustPilot. One of the issues Gregg points out in some reviews is that these can be polluted by false negative reviews by competitors or disgruntled ex-employees. The reverse is also true – false positive reviews by company employees. False reviews, positive or negative, do no one any real good.

Posted in marketing | Tagged | Leave a comment